Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Car Hunting, Pt. 4 - The Details

Spending a few evenings and weekend afternoons with the new toy, I found some interesting details. The car's original delivery date, written in permanent marker on the inside of the hood.
The inside of both the hood and trunk lid had wax residue. Yep, the original owner was even more OCD about car care than I am. Most of the wax is gone, the date is staying.

K&N air filter decal on the inside fender...
...the filter is present and clean.

An aftermarket, lighted rear-view mirror greatly enhances ease of use come nightfall.
Well-integrated with the rest of the "courtesy lights", switching on when the doors are opened.

A faded Miata Club Of America decal on the windshield:
Highlighted passages in the owner's manual:
The mystery box of bonus goodies:
What's inside?
OEM rear-view mirror and horn and e-brake boot (which was replaced with a leather aftermarket unit), OEM tape deck, front tie-down brackets and the unused front license plate holder. The radio will be refreshed, updated and re-installed on down the line.

Some of the sales and marketing materials that came with the car:
Car And Driver and Road & Track reprints, window sticker ($14,715 in 1991 + $1,800 "added dealer markup" - $26,100 in today's dollars), pre-delivery inspection checklist, etc.

And, after several hours of clay bar, polishing and waxing, I discovered underneath some lightly-oxidized paint was a more-than-respectable finish with some semblance of gloss:
End of Car Hunting posts. At least until I start the search for my next car...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Foggy Morning At Double Drumlin Farm

We were very fortunate to be able to spend some time (although not nearly enough) with our friends the VonHubens during our Wisconsin trip.

A few morning shots from the prairie before the fog burned off.
prairie and the neighbor's horse
one of many native plant gardens
purple cone flowers (echinacea)
black-eyed susans
one of the hens
artistically-stacked firewood
the neighbor's horse - again
the house

Thanks VonHubens!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Green Lake 2011 - Poor Attempts At Dear Photograph

After spending some time perusing dearphotograph.com a few months ago, I decided that the trip to Green Lake would be a great opportunity to try out the technique where one holds up a vintage photo in the same setting. Little did I realize how difficult it could be to get everything to line up properly. Oh well, even if the photos turned out terribly, it was still an interesting and challenging exercise. Here goes...
mom, winter '69-'70 (pregnant with me at the time)
grandpa & grandma, early 70s
cousins, mid-70s (Kimmy, me, Jeff, Dan)
me, with fish, late-70s
puppy Kasey, Taffy and Kimmy, 1985
brother Dan & Hot Wheels, 1985
Kasey, 1987

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Car Hunting, Pt. 3

Note - sorry about the font type and size jumping around. I originally composed the copy in Word and then pasted it in. I've tried to edit it, but the changes aren't sticking - and I've spent enough time messing around with it at this point...

Okay, with some free time on a Sunday afternoon (and with Celeste out at a friend’s house), arrangements were made to check out the local Miata. The seller was located less than a mile away – a promising sign.
All clean and tucked away in a sleepy Carlsbad neighborhood garage was a low-mileage base model ’91 Miata.

obviously *out* of the garage at this point

96,xxx miles, manual steering, no ABS, air conditioning or cruise control, crank windows and an aftermarket Sony removable cassette deck (remember those?). The paint and seats lightly faded, but mechanically everything seemed to be sound.

No oil or coolant leaks, fresh hoses, brakes and tires, a convertible top in good shape with a rear window that had been replaced a year prior.

And for the car geek in me, I was shown a thick envelope with original sales literature, the window sticker, manuals, receipts and the like.

The asking price was at the upper limit of my budget, but why not take it out for a spin. We hadn’t driven more than a quarter mile before Allison said “you’d be a fool not to buy this car”. I knew then-and-there that this car wouldn’t require much rationalizing or explaining on my part. Sold. We zipped around some of Carlsbad’s surface streets, briefly with the top up to help listen for any odd noises. Everything checked out – the suspension and steering was tight, the engine eager, transmission just about perfect and the brakes strong. Only a couple of minor creaks. Overall a very strong running and good-looking twenty year-old and affordable, fun car.

Being an airline mechanic, the owner truly seemed to care about his cars, had a neat garage and took pride in stating that he never let anyone else wrench on his rides. He had bought it from the original owner – a neighbor of his – last year, with the hopes that his daughters would drive it. However, they were not willing to learn how to drive a manual transmission, so he had to replace this car with one with an automatic.

Anyway, we came to a deal on the price with a promise on my end to return the next day with a cashier’s check. The ad was pulled from Craigslist by the time we returned home.

To be continued...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Green Lake 2011 In Photos

Some photos and a couple of videos from our recent trip to my favorite place on Earth - Green Lake, WI. A big thank you to the Mangins for letting us stay at a place that means so much to me and my family.

And the videos, swimming under the pier with a GoPro HD camera: